The Islamic State looks poised to test the willingness of the United States and its allies to put ground troops into the fight in the new year, potentially forcing President Obama into tough decisions and creating trouble for Hillary Clinton if terrorism fears begin to outpace economic concerns among Democratic voters.
The intensifying conflict could have a game-changing effect on Hillary Clinton’s electoral prospects if Obama’s hand is forced to ramp up American military presence in Iraq and Syria, possibly sparking more attempts at stateside terrorism.
“Terrorism right now is not a big thing for Democrats ... right now, still the economy is the biggest issue (for them),” said GOP political operative Ford O’Connell, who advised John McCain’s 2008 campaign against Obama. “If it changes from the economy to ISIS, she’s dead in the water.”
An October Pew Research poll showed Republicans are 15 percentage points more likely than Democrats to view terrorism as a very important voting issue.